Newly hired Georgia Tech football coach Geoff Collins speaks during a news conference Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, in Atlanta.
Photo: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Photo: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Georgia Tech assistants expected to learn fate Monday

New Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins is expected to meet with the current assistant coaches Monday to inform them whom he plans to retain, according to two people familiar with the situation. It’s believed he will also meet with non-coaching staff for the same purpose.

It will not be a surprise if Collins makes broad changes. It’s not unusual for new coaches to replace the entire staff and the head strength and conditioning coach, if not more staff. Of the five most recent coaching changes in the ACC prior to this year’s hiring cycle, two coaches replaced the entire coaching staff, two more retained one assistant coach and one kept three (Virginia Tech). All five coaches brought in their own strength and conditioning coach.

Further, it’s what Collins did at Temple. After he was hired in December 2016, Collins retained two assistant coaches, and his first hire was his own strength and conditioning coach. 

This situation is different, though, in that Collins is replacing a coach in Paul Johnson who has stepped down, not one who was fired. His 10-man staff: defensive coordinator Nate Woody, quarterbacks/B-backs coach Craig Candeto, inside linebackers coach Andy McCollum, A-backs coach/special teams coordinator Lamar Owens, wide receivers coach Buzz Preston, defensive line coach Jerome Riase, offensive line coach Mike Sewak, cornerbacks coach Joe Speed, co-offensive line coach Ron West and safeties coach Shiel Wood.

However, given that Collins will change the offensive scheme and defensively has played out of a four-man front (unlike Woody’s 3-4 defense), change appears inevitable.

Collins has indicated that he’ll bring some of his assistants at Temple to Tech. Temple defensive backs coach Nathan Burton and defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker are expected to join Collins, according to a report from The report also said that Temple strength and conditioning coach David Feeley will remain with the Owls staff.

Burton is a Tech grad who played for the Yellow Jackets when Collins was a graduate assistant and then tight ends coach at the school. Thacker is a Georgia native who graduated from Gainesville High, played at Furman and has coached at multiple schools in the Southeast, including Kennesaw State.

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